Chin student activist among five arrested in Rakhine for protesting against military coup

A 22-year-old Chin student activist is among five young people who were arrested on Tuesday night for taking part in a protest in Rakhine against last week’s coup.

Police came to Mai Yadanar Aung’s home in Ann township at 9.30pm and took her away without a warrant, according to the woman’s mother, Tin Tin Aung. 

“They came and asked her to come along with them to the police station. But since she didn’t do anything wrong, I asked them why she had to. Then they said she was involved in the protest,” Tin Tin Aung said. 

“I couldn’t sleep the whole night. At first I considered not letting them take my daughter, but I was concerned she would be arrested forcibly, so I let them take her thinking they might release her on bail,” she added.

Police were due to bring her to the township court on Wednesday to be remanded in custody. Family members went to the police station on Wednesday morning to try to see her but police wouldn’t let them inside, citing Covid-19 regulations. 

Ann township is where the Myanmar military’s Western Command is located.

Four other young people were being detained at the station for protesting, Tin TIn Aung said. Myanmar Now was unable to verify their names. 

Mai Yadanar Aung is a third year student studying Chemistry at Sittwe University and secretary of a group called Chin University Students in Rakhine State (CUSR).

Young people and students began protests against the new military dictatorship in Ann township yesterday for the first time, said Mai Khaing Zin May Than, CUSR’s chair. The arrests began within hours. 

“They are finding and arresting the protesters. Some of my sisterhood friends are still hiding,” she said.

Because of the arrest, parents in town told their children  not to join the protests on Wednesday, Mai Khaing Zin May Than said.

“This is a human rights violation,” she added. “In Ann, not all the people are involved in the protests. The participants are mostly Chin ethnic girls.”

About a thousand mostly young people joined Tuesday’s protest in Ann, Tin Tin Aung said.

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